Around the 3rd of each month, I steel myself for a visit from the landlord. He’s a lovely man, really: kind, affable and reasonable. He never asks for inspections, trusts us with house decisions and has encouraged us to make his old home our for-now home, in every respect. He buys the paint, and we make over the kitchen cabinets. We make small repairs, and he takes it off the rent.
It’s a win-win for us both: our family has a secure home, and he knows we’re putting in the elbow grease to increase the value of his investment.
Still, I know he’s under pressure… pressure to sell. He told me as much last month, when he asked that question every renter both longs and fears to hear:
"So, would you want to buy this house?"
Oh yes, I said. I would loooooove to buy this house. We’ve lived here longer than we’ve lived anywhere. Our youngest has lived most of his life here, our children’s formative memories have been captured here. We love our neighbours, love our (walking-distance) schools, love the back garden and the kitchen and even the poky, creaky floorboards. This is our home in every way.
So yes, of course I do, I told him. But despite good credit, lengthy employment history, university degrees and a stable job, we could never afford it.
"And it’s not a cheap house," he said.
No, I replied. It wouldn’t be cheap it all.
Though we know the day is coming - the day he chooses to sell or we go back to the US for home assignment (whichever comes first) - we aren't under imminent threat of losing our home. But so many people in Ireland are. And many, many more are looking for a home, any home, with few options (or no option at all).
Today I'm at VOX Magazine talking about the current Irish housing crisis and why the local pro-life movement (if we are, in fact, pro-life) simply must be part of the solution.